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Encore (Amplified) Kindle Edition
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"Depth of Lies" by E. C. Diskin
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So I went into Encore, the sequel to Amplified's story of a girl from a privileged, vanilla, straight background chucking her safety net to follow her dream of joining a band in Santa Cruz, California, already in love with Jasmine and the band.
Little did I know that Kelly not only had all the gritty, realistic, not-so-glamorous details of a small-time band on the road, multiple layers of family issues, amazing descriptions of music-playing and playlists that Amplified had: she was also going to make Jasmine, cross-dressing keyboard player Felix, and even leadsinger Veta take stands on the intersection of media, abuse, and prejudice.
What is harrassment? Is harrassment just "locker room talk" when girl band members are criticized in music reviews for their weight? The color of their shoes? When is it okay for a girl/woman to start speaking up about behavior that makes them uncomfortable (such as a boy following them uninvited into a ladies' room and not letting them leave) and how will that damage the boy's reputation? How do you stop cyber-stalking or people's comments who don't want to believe a boy would do such a thing?
Meanwhile, Jasmine's band, C-side, is dealing with a tour going downhill fast. This was not an easy book to read. I wanted it to be about how following your dream is worthwhile, and gutsy risk-taking that doesn't involve consequences. Or blaming unwise risk-taking for physical attacks.
But Kelly doesn't take the easy way out. She makes it complicated because all of it is complicated. And even with all the band's craziness, you're still rooting for them. You are still outraged about the cyberstalking and the harrassment. And Kelly doesn't give you simple closure. Kind of like life.
I went into this thinking it would just be another emotionally-dense, fascinating peek into California band-life, and came out with a whole bunch of thoughts on victim-blaming and the ways media allow expression of ugliness. Kudos to Kelly.
I embrace "diversity" in a book and Encore is the perfect representation of why books continue to surprise me in the most pleasant ways. I've never read the first book of the series but that did not stop me from getting to know the characters on an emotional level. I love the line up because they are so diverse and unique, their personality shines through their voice. To each their own!
C-side is an amateur band on their path of gaining success and recognition. Touring beside Luna Temptation as an opening act, the readers get to witness about the band's journey and struggle through the eyes of the band members and primarily through the voice of Jasmine, the guitarist.
I personally enjoyed this book because I always loved a rockstar romance, but what I get in return surpasses my expectation. The writing was realistic and engaging, I hardly could tear myself away from their story. The bashing and criticism, in my opinion, was the worst part of the book, but that just amplified the beauty of the plot. I just couldn't get enough of it.
Tara Kelly has quickly rise up as one of my favorite author for 2016, and I can't wait to read the rest of the series!
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